2011 Mahei Sheng Ancient Tree Pu-erh from Wymm Tea

MaheiSheng2011Spring1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Wymm Tea

Tea Description:

This is a sheng pu-erh that brews bright yellow liquor with a delicate taste and silky texture. The tea is full-bodied with minimal astringency, and brings back a prolonged honey-like aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This 2011 Mahei Sheng Ancient Tree Pu-erh from Wymm Tea is quite a wonderful tea!  It has a really lovely honey note to it that I don’t usually expect when I drink pu-erh.  It’s not often that the first thing I really notice about a pu-erh is the strong honey tones!  

One of four little bundles of pu-erh that I received from Wymm Tea.

This has a light vegetal flavor that is – to me – reminiscent of a buttery green tea.  I get a slight creaminess from this cup: a light, buttery vegetative note.  It is wonderfully smooth with no astringency and no bitterness.  It’s mellow yet flavorful and really quite pleasant to sip.

My second infusion was a little less smooth than the first and I’m picking up on some citrus notes as well as a hint of astringency toward the tail.  The creaminess of the first cup has waned and while I’m finding this tea to be different than the last cup, it’s still quite lovely!

The vegetal notes are a little more defined now and I’m not sure if that’s because the creaminess has waned or if it’s because these notes are emerging.  They are lightly herbaceous.

My favorite thing about this cup is the aforementioned citrus notes and the honey notes – I like the way these two profiles taste together.  There is a nice balance to the flavors of this tea and this is something that remains consistent through it’s many infusions.

Later infusions maintained their honey-like tones.  As I continued with the infusions, I noticed that the vegetal notes that I noticed especially in the second infusion began to transcend into a fruit-like note, reminiscent of melon.  Some floral notes began to emerge.

What I didn’t get – throughout those many infusions, I lost count after about six! – was a briny or fishy flavor.  I didn’t taste a strong, earthy quality that I normally associate with a pu-erh.  If you’re someone who tends to shy away from pu-erh because you don’t care for those strong flavors, you really should try this one!  This is a really lovely pu-erh and a very interesting tea – one that’s well worth trying!

Single Mountain: Yiwu Wild Arbor Sheng (2004) from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Product Description:

Mt. Banzhang is considered the absolute top of the line in pu’er leaf, but Mt. Yiwu is giving Banzhang a run for its money. The art of pu’er in Yiwu is thriving and threatening to take 1st place. Compare this to the American cheese and wine movement that is finally strong enough to hold its own against France. Because Yiwu is not yet as famous, the tea is much more affordable, even certified single origin bricks like this one. Buy a brick if you can and watch this tea age into some of the best. In ten years it may be much more difficult to even obtain Yiwu leaf for import.

To Learn More, click here.

Taster’s Review:

This is Pu-erh?  I found myself questioning it the moment I opened the pouch and noted the aroma, which was not strong nor as earthy as a typical Pu-erh.  The earthiness is very slight, smelling a bit more like mushrooms to me than earth.  The brewed liquor takes on a slightly stronger earthy tone, but, still, not nearly what I’ve come to prepare myself for when I drink Pu-erh.  There are lingering notes of wood, reminding me of a walk through the forest – again, not so much of the smell of the earth in that forest, but the trees and the surrounding air which is enhanced with a hint of smoke from a nearby cabin.

The complexity of the aroma translates into the flavor.  I taste a fruit note in this cup – something I can’t ever recall noticing in another cup of Pu-erh.  It is not a strong flavor, but more of a whisper of a flavor in the background, a mystery that is hidden behind the solid notes of wood and spice.  The spice tones start out “almost” peppery – almost but not quite.  As I continue to sip, I find that the peppery tones develop somewhat, but it remains a subtle spiced note.

The tasting notes on the Verdant Tea website suggest a hibiscus tone, but I have to say that I don’t really notice hibiscus.  Perhaps a hint of tartness from the berry/fruit notes that I mentioned earlier, but as I don’t like hibiscus, and I am enjoying these fruit notes, I don’t taste hibiscus when I taste the berry-like flavor; but I can see where the comparison to hibiscus is made.

It is incredibly smooth with no astringency or bitterness.  The body is lighter, delivering a taste that is not quite as heavy as a typical Pu-erh.  It has a light sweetness that is not so much the caramel-like sweetness that I’ve come to appreciate in Pu-erh … it’s different, but no less enjoyable.  In fact, that this IS different, it becomes even more enjoyable; intriguing me to continue to sip so that I may pinpoint what it is I taste.

Subsequent infusions seem to deliver more complexity.  Just as the previously mentioned tasting notes from Verdant Tea suggests, the berry/hibiscus-y notes develop into more of a tart apple taste.  I can really taste the cedar notes now.  The spice has developed as well, a light peppery note without those high spice notes.  A subtle, low pepper tone.

If you’re new to Pu-erh, I think that this would be an excellent Pu-erh with which to start.  If you’re a seasoned Pu-erh veteran, I would still recommend trying this Pu-erh for its unique set of flavors, you may find it to be a deliciously different addition to your tea cupboard.

An exquisite Pu-erh (and I really don’t think I’ve used exquisite to describe a Pu-erh before!)

Yiwu Wild Puerh Cake 2010 from Qing Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Qing Tea

Product Description:

Yiwu moutain is the biggest mountain among the famous 6 mountains in Yunnan. The region grows a great amount of old tea trees.This puerh cake uses spring tea leaves from Yiwu and is shaped in traditional way. The soup is already friendly and rich of sensation.

Taster’s Review:

I am still a little afraid of Pu-erh… I think more than anything, it’s that very pungent earthy aroma that puts me off on the stuff.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened the sample pouch that I received of this Pu-erh and noted very little (almost NO) earthy scent.

This translates into the flavor as well, with very little earthiness detected in the taste.  There is some earthiness in the flavor, it just doesn’t dominate the cup.

What I am finding most intriguing about this tea is an almost wild note in the background.  I don’t know if one can actually taste the “wild” in a wild-grown Pu-erh, but, this flavor is a bit different from any other Pu-erh that I’ve tried.

There is a lightness to this particular Pu-erh, and this allows the flavor to come off as a bit more crisp and bright.  I taste notes of spice in this tea, as well as a hint of sweetness.  It has an almost rustic tone to it.  The finish is dry.  A very pleasant Pu-erh!